My wife and I are trying to build up her credit, so we decided to:

  1. Add her as an authorized user to my Card A, which is about 10 years old and currently my only form of credit. I'll call hers Card B
  2. And open a new Card C at a different bank, also under my name, and add her as an authorized user to that as well. I'll call hers Card D

My plans are to eventually get rid of Card A and close all of my accounts at that bank (due to the laughable APY on the accounts). We already have shared accounts at the bank of Card C and Card D.

I want to move towards getting all use off of Card A so that I can lock the card but still keep it so I don't lose my oldest line of credit or take a hit to my credit limit. As part of this, I want to lock Card B when it arrives so it never gets used.

So this leads me to my question:

Will indefinitely locking both Card A and Card B have any negative affects on our credit scores?

Possibly relevant info:

  • My score is around 750-775
  • Wife's score is somewhere in the 600's (due to lack of credit, not poor credit decisions). Combination of this and her grad student income are why we is putting her on my cards
  • I want to lock Card A and Card B rather than just not using them because I don't want to have to worry about them getting compromised
  • 3
    I've never heard of "locking" a credit card other than physically locking it in a safe deposit box.
    – pboss3010
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 18:50
  • 2
    @pboss3010 most issuing banks offer consumers a way to block a card without actually cancelling it. This is typically meant for things like, "I lost my wallet but expect to find it" or "I'm going on vacation and won't be using my card this week" - i.e. temporary, discretionary reasons. Sometimes, you can lock the card in the bank's mobile app, other times you have to call them.
    – dwizum
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 19:10
  • Since "locking" a card is a non-standard feature, I would bet that the action is not even reported to the credit bureaus (who can only accept standardized info). And even if it is, I would still make a second bet that it's not included in credit scores.
    – stannius
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


A physical card associated with an account being "locked" isn't even included in the data submitted to a credit bureau and therefore can't be included in credit score calculations. It's worth pointing out that the loan behind your credit card account is essentially the thing that is reported on, not the card itself (which is just a vehicle by which you can access the loan, as a consumer).

That said, if you have a credit card account with consistent zero utilization and the only two cards authorized on it are locked, you run a very high risk of the bank taking action against the account - either significantly reducing the limit, or closing the account. Card issuing banks include provisions in their cardholder agreements that essentially give them the rights to do things like this at their discretion, and by carrying zero balance and locking both cards (which means you will also have zero use) you are sending a pretty strong signal that you no longer intend to use the account.

If you intend to keep the account, and you don't want to carry a balance (which - clearly - is not a good thing to do in the financial sense), you should leave at least one card open. And you may want to consider still making occasional purchases (and paying them off immediately) to avoid any automated triggers based on a lack of activity.

  • Didnt think about the cards getting flagged. Not really surprised about it though. I'll make sure to use them occasionally then. Thanks
    – Sh'dynasty
    Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 23:45

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